Is This the Secret to Saving Your Marriage After an Affair?

Saving Your Marriage After an AffairReal­ity stars Tori Spelling and Dean McDer­mott are putting them­selves through ther­apy to try and sal­vage their mar­riage after he had an affair with a much younger woman. And they’re not the only celebrity cou­ple who aren’t giv­ing up on mar­riage after cheat­ing. Real House­wives of New York star Ramona Singer is call­ing off her divorce and try­ing to work things out with her hus­band of 25 years after she caught him hav­ing a long­time affair, also with a younger woman.

But despite these celebrity cou­ples’ efforts, is it really pos­si­ble to save a mar­riage after an illicit affair? Accord­ing to a new study by UCLA and the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton, it is pos­si­ble for a cou­ple to move past an affair and sal­vage their mar­riage, but only if the cheater comes clean before they get caught.

The study tracked 134 dif­fer­ent cou­ples over five years, mea­sur­ing their rela­tion­ship sat­is­fac­tion and sta­bil­ity via inter­views and ques­tion­naires. From the cou­ples who encoun­tered infi­delity, those who con­fessed were more likely to stay together ver­sus those who kept their affair a secret and got caught. After five years, only 20% of the mar­ried cou­ples who cheated and got caught were able to avoid a divorce. Mean­while, 57% of those who came clean about their affair ended up stay­ing together.

The researchers believe that when some­one con­fesses to their spouse about an affair rather than get­ting caught first, it main­tains the “integrity of the rela­tion­ship,” and both par­ties will be more enthu­si­as­tic and will­ing to work towards rebuild­ing the marriage.

When some­one admits to doing some­thing wrong, like hav­ing an affair, it shows that they have a guilty con­science and feel some remorse over their actions. It main­tains a level of trust, which makes it eas­ier to accept their cheat­ing as a mis­take or momen­tary lapse in judg­ment. How­ever, when some­one gets caught and then asks for for­give­ness, it’s hard to accept that their remorse is genuine.

Going back to our two celebrity cou­ples, both men were caught cheat­ing before con­fess­ing, which means that, accord­ing to this study, their mar­riages don’t stand a chance. We have our bets on two divorces, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

What do you think: Would you stay with your hus­band (or wife) if they came clean about hav­ing an affair? What if you caught them before they confessed?


Hillin, T., “New Study Reveals Secret To Sav­ing Your Mar­riage After Infi­delity,” Huff­in­g­ton Post web site, April 22, 2014;